By the late 1960s I was already a young married man with a family and wasn’t really into the popular music of the era, but I was most definitely aware of it, and as time passed I grew to appreciate a lot of it. One of the bands I enjoyed most was a British ‘blue-eyed soul’ group that featured a teenage Steve Winwood.
Winwood has gone on to enjoy a long and varied career since those days, but it’s still fascinating to look back at the Spencer Davis Group in its heyday. Even now, its biggest hits — songs like “Gimme Some Loving” and “I’m a Man” — reverberate with power and feeling.
The Spencer Davis Group came together in 1963 in Birmingham, England, when guitarist Davis joined with drummer Pete York, bassist Muff Winwood, and his fifteen-year-old brother Steve, who was a startlingly talented organist and singer. The group performed under a couple of different names and kicked around the area for a year or two before finally gaining a recording contract, which soon led to its first UK hit, “Keep On Running.”
Success on the charts also helped the guys get European tour dates, especially in Germany, where they became very popular. Over the next couple of years the group would sell a lot of records world-wide, but in spite of overseas success did not get around to touring in the US. By 1967 the group began to dissolve, with Steve Winwood — still just nineteen — the first to leave. The group would continue for a while, but eventually the early days ended. In later years, various members have come together again from time to time , and at last report Davis himself is now leading a touring band